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The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir
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The Wars of the Roses (1995)

by Alison Weir

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1,474297,356 (3.81)42
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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Very informative and well-written account of the period, certainly filled in some gaps in my knowledge! On the whole i enjoyed listening to this in my car - the audiobook experience was a winner! Some people found the narrator's tendency to "do the voices" a bit wearing but personally I liked it.

The only thing that did irritate slighlty was the "translation" of money e.g. "The fireplace cost £32, 10s and 6d (that's £32 and 52 and a half pence)"! If you have to do price translations it would be a lot more useful to explain the value of the money e.g. "£32, 10s and 6d, which would have paid an average wage for a bricklayer for 7 months" or something. Anyway, that's my only whinge and it's a pretty trivial one... ( )
  AriadneAranea | Aug 7, 2018 |
Weir is a great historian. She brings to life the era, and keeps the right balance between detail and interest. She manages to make what could be dry and boring, intriguing instead. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
While I'd always been aware of the so-called Wars of the Roses in British history (I knew it was the Yorks and the Lancasters and it finally ended for good when the two houses intermarried and formed the House of Tudor), it doesn't tend to be taught in American schools. Which is why it's perfect that Alison Weir has a whole book just about that period in English history: the Wars of the Roses.

It's a confusing story, to be sure: it seems like virtually every man in it is named Edward, Richard, or Henry, and they're all related to each other, besides. But Weir does her best to distinguish each of them, and she traces the conflicts not just from the point that they formally began, but from the point where they are rooted. The fighting doesn't get started until about halfway through, but it would be well nigh impossible to understand without all the preamble. She sets her stage carefully, and, much to my relief, when the fighting begins, it doesn't turn into a straight blow-by-blow battle narrative. I find descriptions of war maneuvers to be boring beyond measure, but Weir tells us enough to give us a sense of the battles but not make us feel like we're sitting through a military history lecture.

As always in Weir's work, it's well-sourced (she uses sources contemporary to the events being described, and traces language use back to ensure that she's giving the proper context to what was being reported) and well-written, with a definite sense of narrative and not just fact-dumping. One minor quibble, though, with this book is that it doesn't quite see the Wars through to what I thought to be their end: the ascension of Henry VII and his marriage to Princess Elizabeth of York. While I was hoping to get a bit more information about the end stages of the Wars, I definitely enjoyed getting Weir's take on the period she covered, and would recommend the book to others curious about this period of English history. ( )
  500books | May 22, 2018 |
This is another of Alison Weir's thoroughly researched biographies, this time covering one of the most facinating periods of English history.

My interest in the Wars of the Roses, along with Alison Weir being one of my favourite authors, should've meant that this would be one of the best books I've ever read. This turned out to not be the case.

I think there was too much time devoted to the period building up the wars, though I understand why we get coverage of Richard II, Henry IV, & Henry V's reigns. Even so, I feel this could've been condensed, as it feels too off-topic. I'm interested in all eras of pre-WW1 England, but it tends to annoy me when I choose to read a biography on a historic period or personage, yet spend page after page reading about a different topic or persons.

At times it also felt like reading information overload. It was hard to keep up with the players, a bit like reading a work of fiction with too many characters. In short, thorough research is comendable, but name-checking anyone and everyone is a little overwheilming.

Had the author not begun so far in advance of the wars and instead summed up all those earlier times in one concise chapter, and subsequently started the main course with the births of Henry VI and the Duke of York, surely that would've simplified things, making it more accessible. Alternatively, she could've written a seperate volume on Edward III's sons through to Henry V to cover the earlier period.

Last word: "The Wars of the Roses" is a very good read, but drags and overwhelms at times. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Aug 18, 2016 |
While it does take some getting used to, the plethora of commas and pronoun references, the magnitude of the War of the Roses is incredibly well-covered within the pages of this book. All 420 of them. Weir explains, describes, gives history and figures and deaths and shows how it all fits together. It is eminently readable and the perfect book for Game of Thrones fans, history buffs, or medievalists alike. Even for a casual reader, the style will keep one gripped. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
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Epigraph
These matters be kings' games, as it were stage plays, and for the more part played upon scaffolds.
—Sir Thomas More
What about the getting of the garland, keeping it, losing and winning it again, it hath cost more English blood than twice the winning of France.

—William Shakespeare, King Richard III
Dedication
This book is dedicated to
a much-loved uncle,
Rankin Lorimer Weir,
in commemoration of his ninetieth birthday.

It is also dedicated
in loving memory of
his beloved wife
Dorothy Weir.

And also to
my godson
David Jonathan Marston
on the occasion of his twenty-first birthday.
First words
Introduction: When I was working on my last book, The Princes in the Tower, I was aware that in some respects i was telling only half a story.
In 1466 a Bohemian nobleman, Gabriel Tetzel, visited England and described it as 'a little, sea-girt garden'.
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Haiku summary
Lancaster v York –
real-life, fifteenth-century
tense soap opera.
(passion4reading)
The king is mad, there's
misrule, plotting, treachery.
Dull history? No.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345404335, Paperback)

Lancaster and York. For much of the fifteenth century, these two families were locked in battle for control of the English throne. Kings were murdered and deposed. Armies marched on London. Old noble names were ruined while rising dynasties seized power and lands. The war between the royal houses of Lancaster and York, the most complex in English history, profoundly altered the course of the monarchy. Alison Weir, one of the foremost authorities on British history, brings brilliantly to life both the war itself and the larger-tha-life figures who fought it on the great stage of England. The Wars of the Roses is history at its very best—swift and compelling, rich in character, pageantry, and drama, and vivid in its re-creation of an astonishing period of history.

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(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:35 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Chronicles the struggles of the Lancaster and York families to control the British monarchy, while offering profiles of such figures as Katherine of Valois, Elizabeth Wydville, and Margaret of Anjou

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